As well as exploring voting intentions for the forthcoming general election, our latest Welsh Political Barometer has continued to ask about how people would intend to vote in an election to the National Assembly.
So what did we find? Where do the parties stand right now in devolved voting intention?
For the constituency vote, the results of our new poll were (with changes from our previous poll, earlier in March, in brackets):
- Labour 37% (no change)
- Conservative 22% (no change)
- Plaid Cymru 19% (-1%)
- UKIP 12% (+1%)
- Liberal Democrats 7% (+1%)
- Greens 3% (-1%)
- Others 1% (no change)
On these figures, and assuming uniform national swings across Wales, two constituency seats would change hands from the results in the last Assembly election in May 2011: Labour would lose Llanelli to Plaid Cymru. They would also (which may surprise some people, but is simply the projection produced by uniform national swing) lose Cardiff Central to the Liberal Democrats.
For the regional list vote, we saw the following results (with the changes from our early-March poll again indicated in brackets):
- Labour 34% (+1%)
- Conservative 21% (-1%)
- Plaid Cymru 20% (-1%)
- UKIP 12% (no change)
- Greens 6% (+1%)
- Liberal Democrats 5% (no change)
- Others 2% (no change)
Thus, we can see that none of the parties have moved more than a single percentage point on either vote since the last poll! Taking into account both the standard ‘margin of error’ for opinion polls (roughly 3% either way for a poll with a sample size of just over 1,000 respondents), and the fact that YouGov quote figures rounded to the nearest full integer, I think we can call this essentially a ‘no change’ poll. I don’t think, for instance, that we should read very much into the tiny changes in reported list vote support that have now relegated the Liberal Democrats into sixth place for that ballot.
Taking into account both the constituency and list results, and assuming uniform national swings across Wales, this produces the following projected seat outcome for a National Assembly election (with aggregate changes from 2011 indicated in brackets):
- Labour: 28 (-2): 26 constituency AMs, 2 list AMs
- Conservative: 13 (-1); 6 constituency AMs, 7 list AMs
- Plaid Cymru: 11 (no change); 6 constituency AMs, 5 list AMs
- UKIP: 5 (+5): all list AMs
- Liberal Democrats: 2 (-3); 2 constituency AMs
- Greens: 1 (+1): 1 list AM
This is now the fourth time in a row that our Barometer poll has projected an outcome which would mean six different parties being represented in the National Assembly. But I must also issue my customary note of caution before people start talking about what sort of National Assembly we are ‘on course’ for after May 2016. Not only is there a great deal of political water to flow under various bridges before then (with the outcome of this year’s general election likely to do plenty to shape the electoral context for next year). We should also be aware that the results projected above depend on some very tight outcomes for the final list seats in several regions. Very small changes in support could change the balance between the parties rather significantly.
Postscript: And for the real hard-core enthusiasts out there, here are Ratio Swing projections from the same poll for the National Assembly:
- Labour: 28 seats (26 constituency seats; 2 list seats)
- Conservatives: 12 seats (6 constituency seats, 6 list seats)
- Plaid Cymru: 10 seats (6 constituency seats, 4 list seats)
- UKIP: 7 seats (all list seats)
- Liberal Democrats: 2 seat (2 constituency seats)
- Greens: 1 seat (1 list seat)